December 9, 2022
The Tree of Life is a mixed-use, mixed-income hundred percent affordable housing development financed under HDC’s Mix & Match program, combining City subsidy with tax-exempt bond proceeds and LIHTC equity
Located in Special Downtown Jamaica District, one-third of the apartments are permanently affordable under the City’s Inclusionary Housing program
Queens, New York – City officials joined representatives from First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corporation (FJCUDC), Bluestone Organization and project partners to announce completion of the Tree of Life affordable housing development in Jamaica, Queens.
The project is a mixed-use, mixed-income 174-unit affordable housing development with a mix of studio, one, two, and three bedrooms, including a superintendent’s unit. Financed under the Mix & Match program of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD), the apartments are affordable to a wide range of incomes, from extremely-low, very-low and low income households to moderate, and middle income households. Of the 174 units, 53 will be permanently affordable under the City’s Inclusionary Housing program.
“Tree of Life combines City investment, innovative programs like Voluntary Inclusionary Housing, and vital federal resources to create 174 affordable homes – a third of which are permanently affordable – in a passive house development that will bring jobs and services to the neighborhood,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Thanks to the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica and The Bluestone Organization for their partnership and vision in creating lasting affordability and economic opportunity for Jamaica. “
“Thanks to the extensive collaboration of our public, private, and faith-based partners, Tree of Life is bringing much-needed affordable housing, as well as greater economic opportunity to the Queens community,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I extend my gratitude to everyone who helped to bring this remarkable project to fruition and congratulations to all the residents who will now call Tree of Life home.”
“First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corporation and First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica are pleased to partner with the City of New York (HPD and HDC) to bring needed affordable housing and critical services to downtown Jamaica in partnership with the Bluestone Organization and our collaborators Cornell University Cooperative Extension Program - New York City and Community Healthcare Network,” First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica.
The Tree of Life site is located within close proximity to various modes of transportation in the Special Downtown Jamaica District of Queens, which was established by the City to strengthen the business core, foster economic development, including the development of affordable housing, and enhance the pedestrian environment in Downtown Jamaica.
The project stands at 12 stories high and includes over 25,000 square feet of community facility space, 63 parking spaces, and approximately 1,500 square feet of residential amenity space which will include a fitness room and community room. The community facility space will include a 15,000 square foot healthcare facility and 10,000 square feet anticipated to include an education and training center with a library and computer area, conference room, and individual counseling rooms.
In line with the City’s commitment to foster partnerships with faith-based and community organizations, the Tree of Life project was made possible thanks to the valuable contribution of land and development rights by the project’s non-profit development partner FJCUDC and its affiliate the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica.
The $83 million project also leverages important contributions from public and private partners, including more than $28 million in total City subsidy, over $30 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by HDC, and approximately $12.2 million in low-income housing tax credit equity provided by Raymond James and a standby letter of credit provided by Citibank. Of $2.0 million contributed in valuable Reso A funds, $1.5 million was provided by the office of former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and $500,000 came from the City Council.
"There's only one way out of the affordable housing crisis our city has experienced for years, and that's to build and build fast. No family deserves to spend the night in a homeless shelter, and we must work with unprecedented urgency to ensure that each individual in our shelter system has a home to call their own," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "That's what we've accomplished here in Jamaica today with the Tree of Life, and I couldn't be prouder of the work of all our partners who made this facility a reality. To all those families who will soon be moving in, welcome home."
"It is my pleasure to welcome Tree of Life to Downtown Jamaica," said Council Member James F. Gennaro. "This exciting project will bring much-needed affordable housing to the area. I congratulate the Bluestone Organization and all the community partners involved for turning this vision into reality."
“The Tree of Life is truly just that. Extending life into the community by way of the church. I want to thank Pastor O'Connor and the Church Board for keeping the faith that this project would come to fruition. As winter approaches, there are many people seeking affordable housing and having 174 new apartments in Jamaica, Queens, is a sincere blessing. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of the Tree of Life affordable housing development. This is a special moment for the District 29 community and the families that will receive the opportunity to reside in the new housing development,” said Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said: “For Queens County to truly thrive, we must not only serve and protect our communities, but also work to uplift our neighbors with affordable housing and economic opportunities. I was proud to have played a role in advocating for this project and allocating funding for the Tree of Life development during my tenure as Borough President. I extend special gratitude to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards as well as the city and private stakeholders for seeing this project through to completion.”